Tuesday, January 22, 2019

It's Hard to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Last week our credit card got compromised. Someone spent $1000 on "Professional Services" and it wasn't us. So I made the call to the credit card company and after a few questions, the card was cancelled. We'll get a new one in 3-5 business days. In the meantime, I don't know how to proceed.

I didn't realize how much we used our credit card. We use it whenever possible to rack up points for airline tickets and we have been able to fund several trips this way. We pay it off each month, so it is not a problem financially and it is a great convenience. To streamline things, we don't have another general card, so, I am finding it hard to function. I tried to return something and they waned to put it back on the card. Nope. Store credit instead--a big deal taking way too long. Order more cat food. Nope. Buy somethings for basement work. Difficult. A trip to the ATM for a large amount of cash--more than I'm comfortable carrying around. Groceries. Watch what we buy so we buy only what we have cash for. And this list goes on.

If we don't get the new card promptly, I wonder if we will have to break out the checkbook. It seems like years since I've seen someone pay at a register with a check. I wonder if the cashiers will know what to do with it. Or if the younger ones will even know what it is. Yesterday our young cashier couldn't understand that our credit card didn't come from the same bank as our savings and checking accounts. I'm not sure she understood the difference between a debit card and a credit card.

So until the new card comes, we'll be cutting back on our purchases. While we're not big spenders, that's probably not a bad thing. Then the fun begins. Changing all of our accounts to the new number. I hope whoever stole our numbers enjoyed their "Professional Services".

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Thankful Sunday, January 20, 2019

I am thankful 
for laborers.

This week we had work done in our basement to fix some water problems. This involved jackhammering up the slab and installing pipe under it. There were three workers here and at times there were three jackhammers operating. The noise was deafening and headache producing even after just a short while. But they kept on with the job. After the concrete was broken up, they had to carry it in buckets up the basement steps and outside to be disposed of. Both of these jobs were hard to do and something that I literally couldn't have done. But without them, we would not have been able to fix our problem.

So for the laborers who are physically capable and willing to do this kind of very hard work, I am thankful.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Thankful Sunday, January 13, 2019

I am thankful for a snow day.

We've had a lot of rain this year, but not a lot of snow. In fact only one time in November. That is until now. It started snowing last night and is supposed to snow all day. While we shouldn't accumulate huge amounts, it's just enough to cancel all activities. A forced snow day at home. Time to watch an old movie on TV, make a pot of soup, and work on some of those things that never seem to make it to the top of the list. 

For this quiet day at home, I am thankful.

Movie is "Born to Dance" on TCM
Soup is Cauliflower, Spinach Soup. A recipe adapted from WW
Activity: Sorting a basement closet. I know that doesn't sound like fun, but the payoff of an organized closet at the end is all so rewarding in my slightly OCD mind.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Sometimes it works out

As most of you know, my sisters and I are in the process of cleaning out my parent's house. Not an easy task. This was the house where my parents, who were raised in the depression, lived for 55 years. Also, not to mention, raised four kids and stored things from my grandmother and aunt. This all resulted in a very full house. We are slowly making progress as we chip away at it when we have a chance to visit for a couple of days. Sometimes it's sad. Sometimes it's overwhelming, and sometimes it is poignant.

(Note about the pictures. I don't actually have any pictures of the items mentioned here. However, I've included pictures of other things we are sorting through. My sisters and I are doing a lot of picture sharing as we try to make decisions about different items since we're never all there at the same time.)

Some examples of when our work was poignant:

One day a woman was walking up the street that looked about my mother's size. We chatted with her and then gave her a bag of my mother's clothes. They fit and she was very thankful as she was an elderly woman on a fixed income with no extra money for clothes.

Another time, we had an old desk on the sidewalk for bulk trash pickup. It had suffered water damage and was literally in pieces. A woman stopped and asked if she could buy it because she planned to restore it to use. It turns out that her roommate's brother stole every single thing they had for drug money and she was starting over. We gave her the desk, a dresser, and kitchen things. She was very, very thankful and wanted to pay us or do some work for us. Of course, that was not necessary.

We gave another complete set of dishes to a family of 10 who just immigrated here from Africa with nothing. They had other dishes to use, but were thrilled to have a matching set of "nice" ones.

During the ill-fated yard sale (cold, rainy, and the gas company decided on that day to dig up and block the street) a childhood friend came to visit and look around. She was very happy to get an old metal tricycle that she was going to use as a coffee table base and old dresser. As she was remembering stories about my parents (best birthday parties, fun in Girl Scouts, etc.) she told a story about her mother that was her favorite. One time her mother and a friend decided they were going to go skiing. Neither had been skiing, but wanted an adventure and borrowed my father's skis for their trip. We were able to show our friend the actual skis her mother had used. She was very touched and teared up.

Yet another time, we gave an old Girl Scout scarf to a friend. It turns out that she still has lunch with friends from her the Girl Scout troop of her youth. She wore it to their next luncheon and is wearing it other times as a fashion statement. She was thrilled.

There are more stories like this, but I think those are enough for you to get an idea of what makes us smile during this onerous task of going through our parents things. And to keep us moving forward.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Thankful Sunday, January 6, 2019

I am thankful for returned phone calls. 

And the rain came tumbling down. And down. And down.

2018 was a rainy year. Average yearly rainfall for this area is 42 inches. During 2018, we had over 70 inches and this caused some problems for us. Namely, water in the basement and a leaking roof. But we were not alone. Water was showing up for the first time in many homes and the repair people had more calls than they knew what to do with. Including ours.

During one of the heavy rains we had water seeping into the bedroom where Theo sleeps in the basement. This is not a frequent occurrence in that it has only happened once in the two years we lived here and only a couple more times since the house was built according to the neighbors. However, we don't want it to happen again. I will spare you the details for now but we have been working on getting this addressed since July. Right now we have work for a new drainage system scheduled for the 16th of this month. This will be a major project which involves totally tearing up the room and surrounding area and then putting it all back together with new drywall, flooring, painting, etc.

A couple of months ago, Ward noticed a leak in the corner of the laundry room ceiling. The roof is only four years old and to our untrained eyes still looks brand new with nothing amiss. So I started calling roofers. And call after call, I got the same answer. The rain had gotten them so far behind in their work that they were not doing any repairs, only installing entire new roofs. I was starting to despair, until the 7th company said they would send someone out to look at it. It may be a few months before the whole process can be completed, but at least we have someone who is willing to work with us.

So for the companies who returned our phone calls and have said they will help us, I am thankful.